Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale

BLACK PUBLIC TRANSIT INSPECTOR AWARDED $9,500 FOR BEING CALLED THE N-WORD BY A TOW-TRUCK DRIVER


Montreal, November 3, 2009 --- A Black inspector of the Montreal Transit Corporation (MTC) has been awarded $9,500 by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission after being called the N-word by a driver of a towing company.

In 2007, Insp. BM (name withheld for personal reasons) intercepted tow truck driver Daniel McCluskey for stopping his vehicle in a bus-reserved lane outside the Lasalle metro station. When BM, accompanied by a white partner, asked for the driver's ID with a view to issuing a fine, Mr. McCluskey refused to give the information and told both inspectors to call the “real police.” Two police officers intervened and ordered the driver to produce his ID. Only then did the latter comply; BM then gave him two fines: one for illegally parking in an area reserved for bus circulation and another for refusal to comply with the order to produce identification. As BM was writing the tickets, Mr. McCluskey told him in front of others that “you're going to lose your job, damn N. (calisse de n-).”

Deeply offended and humiliated, BM calmly handed the tickets to Mr. McCluskey and explained how to contest them. Mr. McCluskey grabbed the tickets, threw them onto the floor of his truck and drove away.

In a complaint filed on BM's behalf with the human rights commission, CRARR argued that “a rigorous sanction of this reprehensible racially offensive conduct will help protect minority law enforcement officers' standing within their law enforcement services and the community at large, and make these officers first-class and equal law enforcers.” CRARR claimed $7,500 in moral damages and $2,500 in punitive damages from the driver and his employer, Remorquage Sud-Ouest. It also asked the company to adopt an antiracism policy in its customer services.

In a decision transmitted to the parties two weeks ago, the Commission required the company and the driver to pay BM $7,500 in moral damages, and the driver to pay an additional $2,000 in punitive damages. It also ordered the company to adopt an anti-discrimination policy. Both had until November 2, 2009 to comply with the decision.

“This is a very important civil rights gain not only for me, but for all Black and other racialized law enforcement officers as well. Despite our authority and our uniforms, we are not always treated as law enforcers who command equal respect. I am glad that CRARR helped advance equality for Black public security officers,” said BM.

CRARR is currently assisting three other Black and Middle Eastern law enforcement officers who encountered racism in employment, as well as several Black police students who want to challenge discriminatory college admission tests.

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